Sunday, January 1, 2017

Just be empathetic

We have been flying with children since our oldest was 3.5 months old, she will be 7 in a couple of weeks.  In those 6.5 years of traveling with children, I have had one experience that brought me to tears, and as of today one that made me so angry I said my sarcastic comment aloud.

I am unsure if it is only Southwest's policy or airline policies in general to only allow one person to preboard with the passenger who qualifies for pre boarding, so like on the way from Phoenix, today Sonzee and I boarded without the rest of the family.  I usually pick the same rows when we get on plane- behind the wing  towards the rear of the plane.  Maybe I shouldn't have done so, but I placed items in the row behind Sonzee and myself so the rest of the family could have a seat. Every Southwest employee saw me do it including a pilot who was flying as a passenger.  No one said anything to me about it.

General boarding began about two minutes after I secured Sonzee's car seat into the window seat and the first people boarded the plane, came by my row, and began to put their stuff in the aisle seat.  I mentioned that it was actually taken as I had to board early.  They muttered loudly, "oh, I didn't think that was allowed".  I attempted to explain that Sonzee has special needs and I had to preboard but my family wasn't allowed to board with us, to which they replied "well you can't save seats".

In my previous life I would have ignored them and shrugged it off, but I guess this is one of those new negatives I have adopted, the inability to let things go.  I looked at them completely annoyed and said "I didn't make the rules so I couldn't board the plane with my family", clearly they couldn't let things go either because I was then told "well then don't preboard", so I say "I got on the plane first because it takes extra time for my daughter" AND they still continue to mutter negatives under their breath, so I say loudly, "right because I chose for her to have special needs".  

I guess I should work on my ability to let the small things slide by, but my 4th child has special needs and I still don't want to accept that.  I don't want to be in this situation and these non empathetic people have reminded me of how much I hate this.  Why does everything have to be a constant challenge?  It's already frustrating that I have to use preboard, that we couldn't board as a family, that her feeding pump was already malfunctioning, and that our life is not normal.  Trust me, I would much rather not have this "benefit" and go back to the typical cattle call of southwest boarding.  I am so happy for these people that they have no problems in their lives that my saving seats for my family when the entire plane was otherwise empty was such an inconvenience to them.

I am just happy that they weren't standing by me in the preboard line when a boy who had pre boarding as well, walked to the front unaware of the wheelchairs, was told he could board after the wheelchairs proceeding to count the wheelchairs and because Sonzee was in a "stroller" went in front of us.  I smiled at him and let him go first.  I am pretty sure had it been these other people, their ability to cope with that would have been nonexistent.  At least a perk of Sonze is that no one can say I don't have a newfound appreciation for empathy.